Deputy Minister (Ms.) Tone Skogen
State Secretary Günther Adler,
Mr. Erik Solheim (UNEP)
Mr. Steve Russell, American Chemistry Council
Mr. Afroz Shah, UN Champion of the Earth 2016
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the German House for this event on combating marine litter, jointly hosted by Norway and Germany. We are delighted to have Mr. Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP, Mr. Steve Russell from the American Chemistry Council and Mr. Afroz Shah, the “UN Champion of the Earth 2016” with us tonight. Mr. Shah took upon him the journey all the way from India to speak here to us.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Only in the last couple of years, marine litter has been broadly recognized as a problem that must be taken seriously. Plastic packaging and other plastic waste account for most of the 140 million metric tons of litter floating in the world’s seas and oceans, and every year up to ten million tons more waste finds its way into our waters.
Germany has been active in this regard for many years. We have made the issue of marine litter part of our agenda during our last G7 presidency in 2015 as well as within the current German G20 presidency.
To succeed in combating marine litter, we have to tackle this issue comprehensively, including changes in consumer behavior, in consumption and production patterns, by reusing and recycling as well as by tackling the existing pollution we already face.
The decisive factor in combating marine litter – the benchmark on which the success of our joint efforts will be measured - is whether we will achieve concrete results on the ground.
Tonight, we want to discuss with you, how the transition from theory to practice may be successful, and how theory and practice can mutually support and complement each other.
With these words, I would like to invite Mr. Gunther Adler, State Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, to take the floor and share with us how Germany addresses marine litter on the multilateral stage, including at OSPAR, HELCOM, G7 and G20